CNN reporter says Mashaal more confident than ever

CNN correspondent Nic Robertson, who conducted an interview with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal several days ago, says the man hardly seems defeated and is perhaps even more confident than in the past, in spite of Israel’s claims that Hamas has suffered massive damage in the Gaza Strip.

“He doesn’t seem to be a man on his knees at the moment,” Robertson tells Channel 2, adding that he is “even more confident, maybe” than he has seen him in the past.

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal addresses the crowd during a rally at the Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus, Syria, on Friday Nov. 5, 2010. (photo credit: Bassem Tellawi/AP)
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal (photo credit: AP/Bassem Tellawi)

“You get the sense that [people around Mashaal] feel that the high civilian death toll is bringing for them more international pressure [on Israel] that favors them,” Robertson adds. “Mashaal himself says, ‘Look, we’re not trying to get a high civilian death toll.’ But talking to the people around him, you get that impression.”

Still, Robertson noted that Mashaal knew that support for Hamas among the Gaza populace could drop due to the mounting casualties.

“My sense is that this is a man who’s concerned… and he also fundamentally believes that what the people of Gaza are going through, under Hamas leadership, is something that they would want to go through” if it led to an improvement of their condition.

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